Product review: Denon Heos AV Receiver

With the multi-room streaming market growing bigger all the time, manufacturers need to do something a little different to catch the consumer’s eye and steal a march on competitors. Enter the HEOS AVR by Denon…

Up until now, if you wanted a wireless surround system you’d be beholden to buying a completely new system without being able to incorporate any pre-existing hi-fi speakers that you don’t wish to part ways with. With Denon’s HEOS AVR you have all the flexibility of having wireless rear speakers but with the option of keeping your precious hi-fi speakers at the front by cabling them to the AVR. This means that when you want to listen to music in pure stereo and get the best sound, you’re not sacrificing the quality that naturally comes from standmount or floorstanding speakers.

The HEOS AVR looks svelte and classy with sweeping contours and its sparse front only features a volume dial and discrete LED lights. However, its build quality and weight is enough to reassure us of its audiophile heritage. The four HDMI inputs on the back are version 2.0 and HDCP2.2 enabled for 4K sources with the HDMI output capable of accepting Audio Return Channel from a compatible TV. There are optical and coaxial digital audio inputs, plus an RCA connection and a 3.5mm stereo jack for any analogue audio sources you may have. Finally there are the 5 speaker terminals and also a subwoofer pre out, though you can hook up the HEOS subwoofer if you want that to be wireless too.

Naturally, by being part of the HEOS ecosystem you can easily control all aspects of the AVR through the HEOS app available on Apple and Android devices. The AVR does come with a remote to control basic functionality such as volume, input selector and power, but as the unit has no display screen you’re much better off using the app. Simply connect the AVR to your Home Network wirelessly or via Ethernet by following the instructions on the app and then you’re free to stream audio or watch a source. The AVR features all the normal music streaming options you get with all HEOS systems such as Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, and Internet Radio via TuneIn but with the addition of selecting all the various inputs on the back of the unit as well as choosing between several sound modes including Dolby Digital and DTS formats.

Combining the best of HEOS and AV receiver, the HEOS AVR is a revolutionary new way to combine all your home entertainment in one, top quality, design.

After connecting a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 6 floorstanders as our fronts and a matching Silver centre and subwoofer, we used a pair of Heos 5s as our rear speakers. The meatiness of the 5’s mean that there isn’t a large difference between the fronts and the rears so the overall effect is one of tremendous richness and fullness when watching the colossal city-wide fight scenes in Pacific Rim on Blu-ray. The 50 watts per channel going to the front speakers isn’t the most power you’re going to find on the market, but it’s definitely enough to make small to medium sized rooms fill up with sound. Switch the settings to stereo mode for a bit of Spotify and you’ll find a healthy amount of punchiness to bass lines and drums alike with a generous amount of overall detail.

If you’re looking to bridge the gap between aesthetics, practicality and performance, then the HEOS AVR should seriously be on your shortlist. The beautiful front of the chassis means that it won’t look ugly in your TV cabinet but if you decide to hide it away, the app has everything you need to control it without it ever seeing the light of day. Even if you’re just after a more slim-line AV receiver, there’s a lot to like about the HEOS AVR. Stop into your local Richer Sounds today and see for yourself.

Click to find out more about the HEOS AV Receiver.

Author: Steve, Bristol store